Saturday, November 03, 2007

Take A Chance On Me

About this time last year, I met a Scottish woman named Marion. She ran the Christmas market stand where I volunteered to sell festive holiday items and sneer silently at the American throngs who arrived on tour buses and wore nametags pinned to their matching overcoats. Marion was very busy and we didn't have much time to get to know each other, but she was always kind to me and tolerant of my need for extra space for my pregnant self in the tiny market stall. She wished me Merry Christmas on December 23rd and I figured I had seen the last of her, at least until she needed help at the next market.

Mid-February, Theo had just turned one month old and my mother was winding up her three-week visit. I was still sore and unable to predict what might make Theo happy and what would cause him to shriek. When the phone rang and the caller said her name was Marion, it took me a few minutes to put the face with the Scottish accent. Marion was calling to invite Theo and me to lunch at her house the following week. I was simultaneously touched and terrified as I had premonitions of trying to make polite conversation while my baby screamed bloody murder in my arms and I looked wildly around the room for a soft cushion to place under my, um, Self before sitting down. I worried that I wouldn't be able to think of anything to talk about besides reliving my holiday altercation with a group of Gluhwein-soaked revelers who fled from the market stand when I mixed up their change.

My mom left town and Jeff went back to work and I loaded Theo into his carseat and made my way to Marion's house. When I arrived, she gave me a big hug. She'd baked lasagna and wrapped up a sweet gift for Theo, and she asked me all the right questions about how he was doing, and whether I'd been happy with my hospital, and she avoided all the gory details that I didn't really want to re-live, and didn't ask me how he many hours he was sleeping at night. My seat at the table was soft and comfortable and Theo slept like an angel for almost two hours. It was such a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Marion and I still e-mail occasionally and though I won't be able to help at the Christmas market this year I will stop in and say hello to her. She may never know just how much her invitation meant to me. I had just begun to wallow (again) in the knowledge that, if I were living near my old friends, we could easily have gone out for an hour or two to friendly houses with fresh air and friendly faces, but since we lived in Germany we didn't have as many options. And Marion provided the friendliness, and the fresh air, and a warm meal too. It's one of those things I've saved in my memory for the next time I know a new mom who could use a friend and some lasagna.

THEO'S BREAKFAST SOUNDTRACK: ABBA Gold
(Daddy chose the music this morning. Theo's favorite track is "Fernando.")

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